Surviving Affairs and Infidelity Article
Eight Heart-Wrenching Emotions You
Almost everyone faces
these eight emotions when they find out about an affair. If
you think you aren’t feeling one of them, I encourage you to
look very closely at yourself and make sure it isn’t there.
Once you have fully
examined the emotion, if you find you aren’t feeling it at
all, that’s fine. Simply move on to the next emotion and
look at that one. However, if you get to the bottom of the
list and you think you are only feeling one or two of the
eight emotions discussed, you could be in a bit of denial. I
know this hurts, but you’ll move on more successfully after
you face your own turmoil and pain.
This is the big one. I
doubt that you would have picked up this book if you weren’t
feeling this. Betrayal is the sense that someone has
intentionally taken advantage of your trust. Betrayal is at
the very root of infidelity. It is what causes many of the
other emotional problems that come up when you find out your
partner has cheated on you.
Many people feel guilty
when they find out about an affair. On some level they think
that the affair is their fault. They might think, “If only I
had been a better partner, this would never have happened.”
No matter what kind of
partner you were, or are, you did not choose to have an
affair and take advantage of the trust that was established
between the two of you. You did not choose for the other
person to hurt you.
When you have spent
years building a life with another person and they come home
and tell you that they have cheated on you, you are bound to
feel disappointed. You will likely feel disappointed in
them. But you might also feel disappointed in yourself, in
men or women (depending on the cheater’s gender), in
humankind as a whole, or even in life itself.
These reactions are
normal. But be careful not to let your feelings slide into
the despair of hopelessness. If you do that, you’re going to
hit the roadblock we talked about above.
Anger is the fraternal
twin of betrayal. They go hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm. When you
feel betrayed, you almost immediately feel angry. If you are
feeling a sense of betrayal and you aren’t feeling any
anger, look to see if you aren’t hiding something from
Think about and answer
these questions: What makes you so angry about the affair?
What are some of the angry scenarios you dream about? What
are the particular concepts about the affair that anger you?
Are your angry feelings related to other experiences in your
personal history? How do you feel your anger in your body?
How do you express your anger?
This emotion is usually
associated with anger. Many people want to take revenge on
the cheater, on the person the cheater was involved with, or
both. They envision hurting the cheater as much as they have
Instead of actually
enacting your vengeful fantasies, try writing about them.
What kinds of vengeful fantasies do you have? What would you
hope for out of the vengeance? What does this reveal to you
about the way you feel in this situation? How do you
experience the vengeful feeling in your body? Were there
other times or places when you had these feelings? How do
these earlier experiences (if there were any) impact your
When you find out your
partner has had an affair, there are so many things to fear.
You might be afraid that the life you once knew is over. You
might be afraid that you will never be able to repair your
relationship. You might be afraid that they will do it
There is no question
that having someone cheat on you can cause frustration. You
likely will be frustrated with the cheater, frustrated with
the person they cheated with, frustrated with yourself, and
frustrated with the whole world. After all, something has
been done to you and to your relationship that was and is
out of your purview.
This feeling of
frustration is often compounded by the fact that you now
have to cope with so many painful thoughts and feelings.
Sometimes it might feel like you are heaping frustration
I use the term
“paranoid feelings” here to mean feelings that include
suspiciousness. I am not using “paranoid” in the technical
or diagnostic sense. Paranoid here is meant to indicate a
deep fear that someone or something is out to get you or is
engaging in some activity that will cause you pain behind
your back. It is quite easy to see why the injured person in
an affair situation might feel paranoid.
Paranoid feelings can
be destructive to your peace of mind if taken too far. But a
bit of suspicion or, perhaps, skepticism isn’t necessarily a
bad thing. You deserve to have the cheater prove to you that
they are not carrying on with the affair and will not get
involved in another one. Be suspicious enough to get that
need met. If you don’t, developing trust will be that much
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Dr. Frank Gunzburg is a licensed counselor in
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If your relationship has been damaged by an affair
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This article was used by permission from
How to Survive An Affair:
The Seven Emotional Trials the Cheater Will Face